University Ethics Committee: Update from the Chair

As we start a new academic year with many of us working off campus, and with much of our human-focussed research having been moved on-line,  I would like to provide PGRs and ECRs with an update on activity within the UEC.  

It is now almost a year since the new Ethics & Governance review processes were launched last October. During that time, we have increased the size of our reviewer pool so that we are better able to handle peaks in demand that occur during the year. Over the summer we have also had opportunity to refine our processes in response to the support and feedback provided by researchers from across the University, which has been greatly appreciated. In particular, we have made significant changes to the Self-Assessment for Governance & Ethics tool for Human & Data Research (SAGE-HDR) hosted on JISC.

During the summer our colleagues at the Information Compliance Unit completed Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) for Gorilla and Qualtrics survey tools. These are mandatory GDPR-related assessments needed for handling personal data. Using both of these tools will now be easier and simpler to incorporate into any submission to the UEC, which has also been reflected in the update to SAGE-HDR.

The revised SAGE-HDR will go live on the 28th September 2020 and is available at 

Please note that the old link used in the 2019-2020 academic year will be de-activated at the same time.

In addition, a new Self-Assessment for Governance & Ethics tool for Animal Research (SAGE-AR) has been created,hosted on JISC. This is already live and is available at

Given all of these changes, we are now seeking to consolidate this activity by consulting with researchers on UEC review processes and on the development of a revised University Ethics Policy.  
Should you have any comments on applicant experiences/feedback to the UEC, or expressions of interest to participate in the Policy Review, please do contact me direct at

Finally, over the past few months we have received a significant number of student-led applications to the UEC where the academic supervisor had not provided oversight. As we start the new academic year with expected higher levels of UEC traffic, we will henceforth not be able to support these types of applications through the review process. Therefore, I have agreed with the Head of RIGO that any such applications which are under-prepared/premature will be noted and returned for revision prior to review. The student and supervisor will then be jointly notified on the reason for the return of the application.

Best regards,

Kevin Wells

UEC Chair